More Poetry Reviews
Behave Yourself Presents "Mes introducing V2"
This has a good mix of street beats and powerful lyrics that seem to float off the tip of the artist's tongue. "Blend" is a howling, raging plea for individuality in a world where everyone strives to fit in. "Look After You" is a lively, sensuous duet and "London" uses contemporary music as an effective backdrop, evoking the atmosphere of the ruthless, brutal capital city of England. "Addicted in turn throws this on it's head by seeming to celebrate addiction to the hustle and activity of city life. The other artists fit in seamlessly adding to, and not taking away from, the music. A good listen.
Behave Yourself Presents L3lack "The Other Side"
There are some good pieces here, although the sound tracking on the CD is erratic. The sound mix is varied, the second track "Wonderful" in particular has the sense of being caught in the dizzying lights of the crystal ball in a nightclub - a kind of surreal, colourful dream with rap lyrics in the background. The later tracks on the CD don't use this so much and I think this detracts somewhat as it really works well. Still, a solid piece of work.
"Poetry in the Key of Gee" by Mista Gee
This is the best of the CDs I have listened to so far. A hypnotic array of pieces here delivered by the dynamic Mista Gee. His husky voice rapping about London and black history has a kind of sensuality and soul. Few performers can communicate history without it sounding too dry, but Gee does so with a power and lyrical skill that is difficult to ignore.
"Born in London" is a standout, with it's brilliant choral backing track and "A Brief Glimpse of Heaven" is very beautifully played. If there is a slight weakness, it is that the live tracks (taken from Gee's gigs), do not engage as well with the pre-recorded ones. The exception is "More Overtime", a mesmerising piece about the misery of work. "Marvin's Question", with Floetic Lara, is a great piece about drug dealing. "Keeping Angels Occupied" has a great use of echo, giving the poem a haunting resonance. "Empty Stages" is a defiant strike at his critics and he closes with a bonus track "Fight Night", about boxing, which is hilarious.
"The Statute of Liberty" by Creative Routes Records
Offbeat and original musical tracks from members of Creative Routes, a collective created for and by people with mental health problems. Some of the tracks here work and some of them do not. The ones that do feature Deadbeat International (featuring the vocals of the wonderful Jazzman John Clarke). Their first two pieces, as well as "Demons in Paradise" are very good, and "Lost at Sea" is an excellent spoken word piece with lingering choral melodies tinged with sorrow. Some works are very short and sharp, like "The Escapists" and "Sonic Nut" and it ends with the eponymous track "Statute of Liberty", an eleven-minute expletive overload. This is a good CD, if you're after something a little different.
"Catching the Cascade" by Paul Lyalls
As someone who has seen Paul Lyalls perform several times, I can confess already to being an admirer his poetry. His performances brim with assurance and laconic flair, and there is much of that to be found here. Lyalls' poems on the world around him take apart it's follies and obsessions - notably his brilliant inversion of the Lord's Prayer making prominent and ironic play on the names of clothing labels. His piece about Kurt Cobain feels true, as he laments the multiple tragedies of a wasted life.
More piercing are his sendups of poets and the performance poetry scene. He completely nails it, especially the poem "Byronic Soul", a wonderful dig at poets who take themselves a bit too seriously. Throughout the poetry throws itself with wonderful rhythm and unpredictable turns of phrase - "tortured bicycle clips" - that really bring the book to life. His final poem, a nod to his father, is done with the brevity and irony that is so typical of him.